You'll see scores of honey varietals at the third annual California Honey Festival on Saturday, May 4.
And you can sample the honey, ask questions, and purchase it--the soul of a field of flowers.
The free event, sponsored by the City of Woodland and the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in downtown Woodland. Last year's festival drew 30,000 people and some 16 California honey companies.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says the festival will include a cooking stage, a UC Davis educational stage, a kids' zone, a beer and mead pavilion and live entertainment.
Among the featured attractions will be a screened bee tent, where festival-goers can see beekeeper Bernardo Niño, staff research associate III in the Elina Niño lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, open the hive and point out the queen, worker bees and drones. Bernardo is the educational supervisor of the California Master Beekeeper Program, directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and operated by the Niño lab.
"Bernardo will be taking the girls through their paces three times during the day," Harris quipping, referring to the worker bees.
The California Master Beekeepers will be staffing a table throughout the all-day event. The UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven will feature a pollinator garden installation highlighting what and how to plant for pollinators, along with displays about common bees found in gardens, said Christine Casey, academic program management officer and manager of the half-acre garden, located on Bee Biology Road. She also will be speaking on bee gardening at 2:45 p.m. on the UC Davis Educational Stage. California Master Beekeepers will be teaching on the educational platforms at the festival.
Kitty Bolte from the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, one of the speakers, will welcome Woodand as a "Bee City" in the opening address on the UC Davis Educational Stage at 10:15 a.m. Plans also call for UC Davis to be named "Bee University" on Saturday, Harris said. "Rachel Davis, director of the Gateway Gardens, Arboretum has been spearheading this designation."
The UC Davis area, located in the Woodland Opera House Plaza, in the middle of the festival activities, will be abuzz with new additions, Harris said. Newcomers to the festival include the World Food Center Plant Breeders and UC Davis entomology students. (See schedule)
The Pollinator Posse of the Bay Area, headed by Tora Rocha and Terry Smith, will be on hand to explain the importance of pollinators and what everyone can do to help them.
Live entertainment will include Jayson Angove, Jessica Malone, Big Sticky Mess, Bocado Rio, Case Lipka, David Jacobin, Katgruvs, accordionist Jared Johnson, The City of Trees Brass Band and Double X Brass Band. Other live entertainment includes Space Walker and the Hand Stand Nation.
The festival, launched in 2017, aims to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers, according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center.
The California Honey Festival's mission: to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
Yes, you can do just that at Briggs Hall during the UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 13. It's free and family friendly.
And one of the crowd favorites, meadowfoam, will be offered. Honey enthusiasts say it tastes like "cotton candy" and reminds them of a county fair. They also compare it to marshmallows.
"It's quickly becoming America's favorite honey," says Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. She describes it as a "confectionery honey."
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, who is coordinating the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's honey tasting, has announced the featured varietals are meadowfoam, sage, cotton and buckwheat.
Two of the department's displays have been nominated for People's Choice awards: the honey tasting booth and the Bohart Museum of Entomology's display, "Will Travel for Bugs: The Bohart Museum of Entomology's Collections from Around the World." Voters can vote via the QR code or online (vote here) from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., April 13.
Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. while the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.--shorter hours to enable the Bohart scientists and volunteers to help at Briggs Hall and with the UC Davis Picnic Day Parade.
- Cockroach Races: Participants can pick their favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory.
- Maggot Art: Participants will dip a maggot into water-based, non-toxic paint and position it on paper and let it crawl. Voila! Maggot art, suitable for framing.
- Virtual Reality Bugs: Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo will set up a virtual reality system to enable people to view three dimensional models of insects. In VR, the models can be made to look life size, 40 feet tall or anywhere in between, he says. Here's the link that to view them in your web browser: https://skfb.ly/6xVru
- Bee Observation Hive: Viewers can check out the queen, workers and drones in the bee observation hive and see tools used in beekeeping.
- Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In: Graduate students will identify insects and arachnids and answer questions
- IPM Booth: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program professionals will discuss and answer questions about insect pests, beneficial insects and pest control. They will display their publications and live insects. In keeping with tradition, they will give away free lady beetles (lady bugs), to be released in gardens to devour aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
- Ants: Graduate students from Professor Phil Ward's lab will talk to visitors about the amazing world of ants.
- Mosquito Abatement: Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District professionals will staff a booth
- Dr. Death: Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will staff his traditional Dr. Death booth, inviting the visitors to ask questions and look through microscopes.
- Davis Fly Fishers: The anglers will demonstrate fly-tying techniques in Briggs 158
- Aquatic Insects: Professor Sharon Lawler's lab will display a number of aquatic insects.
- Forest Beetles: Learn what beetles are attacking our forests.
- Scavenger Hunt: Participants will search for and identify insects.
- Insect Face Painting: Entomology Club members will face-paint bees, butterflies, lady beetles and other insects
- T-Shirt Sales: Visitors can take their pick or picks among insect-themed t-shirts (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees). Newly printed t-shirts feature the roach races, an American Gothic of entomologists, and a cicada plugged into an amp. Selection and prices are online at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad/
- Bake Sale: The Entomology Club will offer insect-themed baked goods.
Bohart Museum. The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology. "At the Bohart, we are focusing on the various countries from around the world and some of their insect fauna," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. The 12 countries that the Bohart is highlighting, besides the United States, are Australia, Belize, Democratic Republic of Congo, Korea, Madagascar, Malayasia, Mexico,Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of South Africa, and Turkey.
The Bohart Museum is the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a year-around gift shop and a live "petting zoo" that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tarantulas and praying mantids. The gift shop is stocked with books, jewlery, t-shirts, insect-collecting equipment, insect-themed candy, and stuffed animals. The insect museum is open to the general public Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., plus occasional, weekend open houses. Admission is free. Further information is available on the Bohart Museum website.
Next July: a major occurrence in the world of pollinators:
UC Davis will host the seventh annual International Pollinator Conference, a four-day conference focusing on pollinator biology health and policy. It is set from Wednesday, July 17 through Saturday, July 20, in the UC Davis Conference Center.
The conference, themed “Multidimensional Solutions to Current and Future Threats to Pollinator Health,” will cover a wide range of topics in pollinator research: from genomics to ecology and their application to land use and management; to breeding of managed bees; and to monitoring of global pollinator populations. Topics discussed will include recent research advances in the biology and health of pollinators, and their policy implications.
Keynote speakers are Christina Grozinger, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Pennsylvania State University, (the research center launched the annual pollinator conferences in 2012) and Lynn Dicks, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, England.
Grozinger researches health and social behavior in bees and is developing comprehensive approaches to improving pollinator health and reduce declines. Dicks, an internationally respected scientist, studies bee ecology and conservation. She received the 2017 John Spedan Lewis Medal for contributions to insect conservation.
Other speakers include:
- Claudio Gratton, professor, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor, Department of Entomology, UC Riverside
- Scott McArt, assistant professor, Department of Entomology, Cornell University
- Maj Rundlöf, International Career Grant Fellow, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden
- Juliette Osborne, professor and chair, Applied Ecology, University of Exeter, England
- Maggie Douglas, assistant professor, Environmental Studies, Dickinson College
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, is playing a major role in the international conference. The center's events manager, Elizabeth Luu, is serving as the conference coordinator. For more information on the conference, access the UC Davis Honey and Pollination website at https://honey.ucdavis.edu/pollinatorconference2019 and sign up for the newsletter for up-to-date information.
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center can change that!
Want to learn more about the product that honey bees make?
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center is offering a Sensory Evaluation of Honey Certificate Course, Oct. 26-28 in the Mondavi Institute's Sensory Building, located on Old Davis Road.
"This introductory course uses sensory evaluation tools and methods to educate participants in the nuances of varietal honey," according to Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, which is affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. "Students will learn about methods of evaluation, stands and quality in this certificate program."
Who should take the course? Anyone interested in learning how to critically taste and assess honey. Attendees will receive a UC Davis Honey Flavor Wheel in addition to a jump drive with all presentations. (See agenda.)
- Taste more than 40 varietals from across the US, Europe and other locales.
- Learn the positive attributes and defects found in honey
- Learn about the science of tasting from UC Davis Sensory faculty
- Learn about labeling laws and their limitations
- Receive an update on the latest UC Davis Sensory research
- Listen to lectures from leading authorities in nutrition, medical science, and adulteration and even a live cooking demonstration on how to use honey in creative ways.
The cooking demonstration features Mani Niall, a former consultant and traveling chef-instructor for the National Honey Board, a sponsor of this year's Honey Sensory Evaluation Course. Niall will explain how to best enhance the flavor of food with different varietal honeys, from savory to sweet. "Mani understands the nuances of honey: when it is important to choose a specific varietal to enhance a recipe and when it is appropriate to use a great wildflower blend," Harris points out.
His recipes also will be served on Saturday and Sunday to the attendees during meals and breaks.
Or at least you saw the crowd circling Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The bees buzzed and so did the festival-goers.
Niño presented several "live bee" demonstrations in a circular screened tent. She opened the bee hive, pulled out frames, and showed the crowd the three castes of bees: the queen, worker bees and drones.
Niño talked about beekeeping and what bees need, and then passed a couple of drones through the tent to the crowd. Some gasped, not realizing that drones are males and cannot sting. Other marveled at the docile drones, took cell phone photos and petted them. The drones didn't seem to mind!
All in all, it was a great day for bees at the California Honey Festival, which is annually sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the City of Woodland.
"Bees face many threats today—it is the goal of the festival to help attendees understand the importance of bees to food diversity in the United States." The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the festival goers learned about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
How many attended the festival? About 30,000, said Harris. (That's not counting the bees!) Harris noted that the inaugural festival drew about 20,000. Organizers had expected about 3000. Next year: maybe 40,000 or more?
Be sure to check out the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) newly posted video on the festival, featuring Niño. It's excellent. Although she's based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, she's California's Extension apiculturist. We are fortunate to have her! See the UC ANR video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUPEdMBYXZY
Resources? The E. L. Niño lab website is at http://elninobeelab.ucdavis.edu.
Their Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/elninolab/.
Their California Master Beekeeper Program is at https://cambp.ucdavis.edu.